CDC Warns of Deadly Outbreak of Yellow Fever in Brazil

PUBLISHED: Apr 3, 2018
Relevant to: Ambulatory Care, Critical Access Hospitals, Hospitals, Medical Office

In response to a large, ongoing outbreak of yellow fever in multiple states of Brazil, including large urban areas and popular tourist destinations, the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) is recommending travelers to the country protect themselves from yellow fever by getting the yellow fever vaccine at least 10 days before travel, and taking steps to prevent mosquito bites during their travel.

Key Points about Yellow Fever Outbreak

  • Since early 2018, a number of unvaccinated travelers to Brazil contracted yellow fever; many of these travelers were infected on the island of Ilha Grande (Rio de Janeiro State). Several have died.
  • Travelers to Brazil should protect themselves from yellow fever by getting yellow fever vaccine at least 10 days before travel, and should take action to prevent mosquito bites.
  • In addition to areas in Brazil where yellow fever vaccination has been recommended since before the recent outbreaks, the vaccine is now also recommended for people who are traveling to or living in: All of Espirito Santo State, São Paulo State, and Rio de Janeiro State as well as a number of cities in Bahia State.
  • People who have never been vaccinated against yellow fever should avoid traveling to areas of Brazil where yellow fever vaccination is recommended.
  • Travelers going to areas with ongoing outbreaks may consider getting a booster dose of yellow fever vaccine if it has been 10 or more years since they were vaccinated.
  • Yellow fever vaccine (YF-Vax) is available at a limited number of clinics in the United States, so travelers should plan ahead to get the vaccine.
    • Note: Providers should note that at this time the manufacturer of YF-Vax, Sanofi Pasteur, has announced a total depletion of their supply of YF-Vax, which is expected to resume by the end of 2018. Until the supply is restored, the vaccine might be found in a clinic that still has a supply of YF-Vax. Follow the link below to search for clinics.

Healthcare providers are reminded of the following regarding the Yellow fever vaccine:

  • Yellow fever vaccine is only available at a limited number of clinics.
  • Yellow fever vaccine is a live-attenuated virus vaccine that has been available since the 1930s. No vaccine efficacy studies have been performed with yellow fever vaccine. However, the number of yellow fever disease cases was substantially reduced following the introduction of the vaccine supporting it being protective in humans.
  • Yellow fever vaccine is recommended for persons aged greater than or equal to (≥)9 months who are traveling to or living in areas at risk for yellow fever virus transmission in south America and Africa. Yellow fever vaccine may be required for entry into certain countries.
  • Serious adverse events can occur following yellow fever vaccination. Therefore, persons should only be vaccinated if they are at risk of exposure to yellow fever virus or require proof of vaccination for country entry.
  • To minimize the risk of serious adverse events, healthcare providers should carefully observe the contraindications and consider the precautions about vaccination prior to vaccine administration. A medical waiver can be given for persons with a precaution about or contraindication to vaccination.

Follow the links below for more information on the Yellow fever outbreak and for vaccine information.

Want to read the full alert and receive alert emails?

Browse Additional Alerts